Monday, May 14, 2007

One Weekend, Three Plays

Our weekend was a very nice one.

On Friday, Joshua and I enjoyed our night out downtown, even though we did not think very highly of "The Madwoman Of Chaillot", a very difficult work to bring off, I believe. "The Madwoman Of Chaillot" is a play in which it is very hard to find the right tone, as well as the right balance between its absurdist elements and its observations of very human (and very quirky) behavior. The Theater In The Round cast members were often at sea, unable to decide whether to play their roles in a highly-stylized manner or whether to offer semi-realistic portrayals. In the end, they often settled for situation-comedy acting, with the result that the play often came across as more cartoonish than its author perhaps intended. In any case, the play struck Josh and me as dated and peculiar, and sometimes tedious, and not very satisfying.

We had a wonderful Saturday. I got my mother's kitchen floor stripped and re-waxed, and my father oiled the furniture and the wooden cabinets in the kitchen, and Josh and my mother polished silver. We listened to music while we worked, and we had a very nice time. On Saturday night, we all went to Bloomington to eat out and to see a production of "Funny Girl", performed by a local cast. The performance was at a high level, and we enjoyed it very much. That musical is dated, and its second act bogs down, but we were pleased to have the chance to see this show, rarely staged now. Given that this was a civic-theater performance, the physical production was very fine, and it was nice to have a full orchestra in the pit. The audience responded very warmly to the production.

Yesterday we planned to take my mother to lunch in honor of Mother's Day and afterward to spend the afternoon doing anything of her choosing. When we got into the car after church, however, my mother told us that what she really wanted was to have lunch at home and to spend the afternoon at home, too, given that we had a Guthrie Theater performance in the evening. So we went home, and had lunch, and spent the afternoon at home, listening to music and talking and reading. Last night's performance of "Major Barbara" was disappointing. Perhaps we caught "Major Barbara" too early in its run--upon reflection, it may have been wiser to have waited a month or so, and then to have attended a performance--but our attentions meandered, and the play seemed to go on forever. I love Shaw, and "Major Barbara" is one of my favorite Shaw plays, but last night the play could not end soon enough for me. I place the fault in the hands of the director.

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